Sessions: 4 Charged in Leaks, Warns Intel Community and Media

Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, Aug. 4, 2017:

The message could not have been any clearer. The crackdown is here.

Attorney General Sessions appeared together with Dan Coates, the Director of National Intelligence, to offer some blunt words. Sessions and Coats head the National Insider Threat Task Force.

Sessions described the “leaks to both the media and “even unauthorized disclosures to our foreign adversaries” as a serious threat.

“Since January, the Department has more than tripled the number of active leak investigations compared to the number pending at the end of the last Administration,” Sessions said. “And we have already charged four people with unlawfully disclosing classified material or with concealing contacts with foreign intelligence officers.”

“Today, I have this message for the intelligence community: The Department of Justice is open for business,” the Attorney General warned.

That’s a very direct message. And an extremely unusual one. It indicates just how bad things have become.

Sessions also said that the FBI had “created a new counterintelligence unit” to manage leak cases. And, in another warning that has the media worried, he made it clear that they were not off limits.

“One of the things we are doing is reviewing policies affecting media subpoenas,” he said. “They cannot place lives at risk with impunity. We must balance their role with protecting our national security and the lives of those who serve in our intelligence community, the armed forces, and all law abiding Americans.”

“We will investigate and seek to bring criminals to justice,” Sessions concluded. “We will not allow rogue anonymous sources with security clearances to sell out our country any longer.”

Furthermore, the DOJ will begin looking into Obama Inc’s use of the DOJ to blackmail companies into moving money into leftist slush funds.

Trump and Leaks: The president must take aggressive steps to stop a grave national security threat

Center for Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz, May 29, 2017:

President Trump spoke out angrily Thursday against leaks of classified information to the press – including leaks of confidential information the U.K. government had shared with American intelligence agencies on the Manchester terrorist attack. These leaks “pose a grave threat to our national security,” he said, and pledged to identify and prosecute those responsible.

The president has it exactly right. He is facing an unprecedented campaign by career government employees to sabotage his presidency with a flood of leaks to the press of classified and confidential information. These leaks are damaging U.S. national security and constitute criminal behavior. They must be stopped.

Some of the leaks have been of highly classified U.S. intelligence reports, including “demasked” NSA reporting concerning former National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn. Others were of President Trump’s confidential conversations with foreign leaders.

Concerning the false allegation that President Trump “leaked” classified information to Russian officials when he met with them in the Oval Office, bear in mind that the president has ultimate classification authority — he can disclose intelligence as he sees fit to advance his foreign policy.

As I discussed in an earlier Fox News Opinion article, the real scandal in that instance was that current and former intelligence and policy officials disclosed to the Washington Post sensitive details about the intelligence Trump allegedly discussed with Russian officials – details that were so highly classified the Post chose not to publish them. This was the real crime. The persons who illegally disclosed this information to the Post must be prosecuted.

Just as serious are the constant leaks concerning investigations of Trump officials. There’s no question in my mind that former FBI Director James Comey arranged to have his notes leaked to the press to hurt President Trump and influence the congressional investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election. It also appears that anti-Trump government employees with the Justice Department and the FBI are systematically leaking a story a day to help CNN and MSNBC promote their false narratives that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election.

These leaks are especially serious since Justice and law enforcement careerists are violating the due process rights of Trump officials by disclosing (and probably misrepresenting) confidential information from official investigations to smear them. Since the “evidence” of wrongdoing by Trump officials appears too thin to produce any charges, these officials are instead using leaks to try and convict Trump officials in the press.

It is urgent that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Special Counsel Robert Mueller stop these leaks which are an affront to the American system of justice.

The Trump administration also must take decisive action to halt leaks of classified national security information. The most effective way to do this is to fill vacant confirmable and non-confirmable positions in policy and intelligence agencies as quickly as possible.

This should include a housecleaning in the NSC, State, DOD, CIA, DIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and other agencies to replace career government employees named to sensitive positions by the Obama administration. In some cases, these career officials are actually former Obama political appointees who converted to the career civil service, a practice known as “burrowing in.”

Although civil service laws and regulations make it virtually impossible to fire career government employees, the Trump administration can reassign these officials. If this is not possible, job descriptions can be changed so anti-Trump careerists suspected of leaking no longer work on sensitive matters. Their security clearances can also be stripped.

Other immediate steps must be taken to address recent leaks of classified and confidential information. Read-outs of the president’s meetings and conversations must be better protected. Investigations that include polygraphs should be conducted to find those who were behind recent leaks. And the NSC needs to bring in experienced personnel to help safeguard confidential information concerning the president’s policy deliberations.

Trump officials will never completely stop leaks to the press. They need to recognize that leaks are always worse during Republican presidencies because the career work force tilts to the left. That said, this recent flood of leaks is an unprecedented effort by government careerists to put U.S. national security at risk to undermine an elected president. This cannot be allowed to continue.

Fred Fleitz is senior vice president for policy and programs with the Center for Security Policy, a national security think tank. Follow him on Twitter@FredFleitz.

Confirmed: John Brennan Colluded With Foreign Spies to Defeat Trump

The American Spectator, by George Neumayr, April 19, 2017:

In article in the Guardian last week provides more confirmation that John Brennan was the American progenitor of political espionage aimed at defeating Donald Trump. One side did collude with foreign powers to tip the election — Hillary’s.

Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.

John Brennan’s CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign, leaking out mentions of this bogus investigation to the press in the hopes of inflicting maximum political damage on Trump. An official in the intelligence community tells TAS that Brennan’s retinue of political radicals didn’t even bother to hide their activism, decorating offices with “Hillary for president cups” and other campaign paraphernalia.

A supporter of the American Communist Party at the height of the Cold War, Brennan brought into the CIA a raft of subversives and gave them plum positions from which to gather and leak political espionage on Trump. He bastardized standards so that these left-wing activists could burrow in and take career positions. Under the patina of that phony professionalism, they could then present their politicized judgments as “non-partisan.”

The Guardian story is written in a style designed to flatter its sources (they are cast as high-minded whistleblowers), but the upshot of it is devastating for them, nonetheless, and explains why all the criminal leaks against Trump first originated in the British press. According to the story, Brennan got his anti-Trump tips primarily from British spies but also Estonian spies and others. The story confirms that the seed of the espionage into Trump was planted by Estonia. The BBC’s Paul Wood reported last year that the intelligence agency of an unnamed Baltic State had tipped Brennan off in April 2016 to a conversation purporting to show that the Kremlin was funneling cash into the Trump campaign.

Any other CIA director would have disregarded such a flaky tip, recognizing that Estonia was eager to see Trump lose (its officials had bought into Hillary’s propaganda that Trump was going to pull out of NATO and leave Baltic countries exposed to Putin). But Brennan opportunistically seized on it, as he later that summer seized on the half-baked intelligence of British spy agencies (also full of officials who wanted to see Trump lose).

The Guardian says that British spy head Robert Hannigan “passed material in summer 2016 to the CIA chief, John Brennan.” To ensure that these flaky tips leaked out, Brennan disseminated them on Capitol Hill. In August and September of 2016, he gave briefings to the “Gang of Eight” about them, which then turned up on the front page of the New York Times.

All of this took place at the very moment Brennan was auditioning for Hillary. He desperately wanted to keep his job and despised Trump for his alleged “Muslim ban,” a matter near and dear to Brennan’s heart. Not only was he an apologist for the Muslim Brotherhood, but Brennan’s Islamophilia dated to his days in college, when he spent a year in Cairo learning Arabic and taking courses in Middle Eastern studies. He later got a graduate degree with an emphasis in Middle Eastern studies. In 1996, his ties to the Islamic world tightened after he became the CIA’s station chief in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He once recalled that “during a 25-year career in government, I was privileged to serve in positions across the Middle East — as a political officer with the State Department and as a CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, I saw how our Saudi partners fulfilled their duty as custodians of the two holy mosques of Mecca and Medina. I marveled at the majesty of the Hajj and the devotion of those who fulfilled their duty as Muslims by making that privilege — that pilgrimage.”

Out of this Islamophilia came a special dislike of Michael Flynn, who had planned to rip up the Obama-era “reset” with Muslim countries. Furious with Flynn for his apostasy from political correctness, Brennan and other Obama aides couldn’t resist the temptation to take him out after rifling through transcripts of his calls with the Russian ambassador. They caught him in a lie to Mike Pence and made sure the press knew about it.

Were the media not so completely in the tank for Obama and Hillary, all of this political mischief would make for a compelling 2016 version of All the President’s Men. Instead, the public gets a steady stream of Orwellian propaganda about the sudden propriety of political espionage. The headline writers at Pravda couldn’t improve on this week’s official lie, tweeted out by the Maggie Habermans: “Susan Rice Did Nothing Wrong, Say Both Dem and Republican House Aides.”

Liberals pompously quote the saying — “the bigger the lie, the more it will be believed” — even as their media enshrine it. Historians will look back on 2016 and marvel at the audacity of its big lie: whispers of an imaginary Trump-Russia collusion that wafted up from the fever swamps of a real collusion between John Brennan and foreign powers seeking Trump’s defeat.

The Return of the Shadow Warriors

American Thinker, by Daniel Ashman, Feb. 24, 2017:

Michael Flynn was fired from the Trump administration following vague, somewhat concerning, leaks about a phone conversation he had with the Russian ambassador. The intelligence community (IC) leaked this conversation to damage President Trump, who had previously tweeted, “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

These are glimpses into the soft civil war taking place between the IC and the democratically elected president.

shadow-wThis fight should be completely unsurprising. Kenneth Timmerman, in 2007, wrote a fabulous book called Shadow Warriors, which documented bureaucrats in the State Department and CIA, i.e. shadow warriors, nakedly harming President Bush. What Timmerman had the foresight to catalog years ago now serves as an explanatory backdrop to what is happening between Trump and the IC.

When IC people attack Flynn, it is not safe to take them at their word. They could be working for political reasons — or simply personal ambition. Timmerman provides many recent historical examples which show them doing exactly this. The IC has damaged their own credibility.

One example is the 2005 confirmation hearings for John Bolton as ambassador to the UN. The Democrats blocked Bolton’s nomination due to a confrontation he had with a State Department analyst, Christian Westermann. Democrats claimed Bolton’s actions had “grave and far-reaching implications for American credibility”.

What was Bolton’s horrible deed? He had written a speech, “Beyond the Axis of Evil,” to communicate the threats Americans faced from biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, from actors beyond North Korea, Iran, and Iraq. Bolton stated that Cuba had a biological weapons program and shared data with other states.

Westermann, based on the intelligence work of Ana Montes, went behind Bolton’s back to stop him. The problem is that Ana Montes was convicted in 2002 of espionage for Cuba. She avoided a death penalty by plea bargaining down to twenty-five years in jail.

Prior to conviction, Ana had been the top analyst on Cuba for the entire American IC. After her conviction, her disinformation remained in the system. Westermann was relying on the work of a Cuban spy to subvert Bolton. In response, Bolton had a frank conversation with Westermann.

In the confirmation hearings, Democrats and Westermann had turned the whole issue around on Bolton. Bolton was punished for speaking the truth about Cuba, and punished for confronting a bureaucrat in the IC about carrying water for a Cuban spy.

Like Bolton, Flynn has a reputation for calling stupid people out on stupid behavior. Maybe the IC took out Flynn because they are true patriots who think he posed a risk to America. Or maybe it’s because they didn’t like his political orientation and policy goals. Maybe it’s simply because he was going to tell the truth and make them look bad. One thing is certain, ascribing nefarious motivations to their actions is not a conspiracy theory, as Timmerman has documented this type of behavior.

The IC uses various disinformation methods to achieve their nefarious goals. One example Timmerman gives covers how CIA man Stephen Kappes hid important intelligence from the American people.

Kappes was in the CIA for over two decades so this is exactly the sort of “career IC” man one would expect to be nonpolitical. As deputy director, he was the second most powerful man in the CIA, so one would hope he would put patriotic love for America first.

The Bush administration had obtained media from an Arab television station which showed how the war had been effective at stopping terrorists. Bush wanted to share the video with the American people.

Timmerman writes what Kappes response was, “You’ve got to tell them they can’t use that tape unless they want to answer to me for getting one of my guys killed”. This would have been a laudable reason for Kappes to stop the information from coming out. The only problem was that Kappes was lying.

The CIA director and Bush appointee Porter Goss first told Bush not to publish the tape, to protect Kappes’s source. Then when Goss learned Kappes had lied, he went back to Bush to explain what had happened and clear release of the tape.

Bush lost trust in Goss. Only a couple of years later, in 2006, Goss was forced out of the CIA. Meanwhile, Kappes served as number two at the CIA into 2010. One lie from Kappes had served to hurt Republicans, prevent the truth from getting out to the public, hurt Goss, destabilized the administration, and furthered his own career. What a success! …for a shadow warrior.

Kappes’ deception figures as a relatively simple one in Timmerman’s book, in this instance anyway, as Kappes pops up fighting the shadow war numerous times.

Timmerman also recounts the Valerie Plame affair, which shows how the CIA carries out sophisticated psychological operations against America.

As readers will recall, CIA agent Valerie Plame arranged for her husband, Joe Wilson, to go to Niger to investigate whether Iraq was trying to buy uranium. Remarkably, Wilson was not bound to a confidentiality agreement. After the Iraq War started, Wilson went public bashing Bush. When Republicans defended themselves, Valerie Plame’s name came out, and Republicans got scorched again for leaking the name of a CIA agent

As then-senator Zell Miller wrote, “The rules on agents are clear. They can’t purposely distort gathered intelligence, go public with secret information or use their position or information to manipulate domestic elections or matters without risking their job or jail. But their spouse can!”

Wilson’s public attack on Bush wasn’t even truthful. Wilson focused on one piece of evidence, some forged documents, to discredit the idea that Iraq was trying to buy uranium. He completely bypassed the fact that an Iraqi delegation had gone to Niger in 1999 headed by Iraqi nuclear expert Wissam al-Zahawie. Wilson used a half-truth to deceive.

This CIA operation has permanently changed America. Many Americans now “know” that Bush lied. The Republican brand was damaged forever. And efforts to employ violence in self-defense against dictators working to procure uranium have been undercut.

What Trump is facing from the IC is nothing new. It is simply Shadow Warriors Part Two. As Timmerman has documented, a significant number of people in the IC, the shadow warriors, have a history of subverting America and democratically elected presidents, for political reasons. Anyone who says this is impossible is lying or ignorant of history.

Given the IC’s rabid lying attacks on Bush, there is no particular reason to believe them now. The attacks on Trump must especially be taken with skepticism as they come from anonymous sources, are vague, and merely hint at wrongdoing. Until the IC gives hard evidence that Flynn or Trump are Russian agents, these attacks say more about the IC than Trump. It suggests that certain shadow warriors perceive Trump as a threat to their well-being, and that they don’t like Trump’s policy stances. Never mind that he won the election in a free country.

One recurring theme in Shadow Warriors is that under the Bush administration, the shadow warriors didn’t face consequences. Westermann was not fired for spreading Cuban disinformation, nor for his political attempts to harm Bolton. Kappes was not fired for lying to Goss. And Plame actually got rich and famous.

Trump has approached these situations entirely differently from Bush. He has called out the IC for illegal subversive behavior in a direct and public manner.

There is a wonderful thread on Reddit in the Donald Trump forum (because the generic politics section of Reddit has banished Trump supporters), where users hypothesize that Flynn and Trump lured the IC into leaking Flynn’s private conversation on purpose, “In a single day, the deep state went from tinfoil hat conspiracy to common public knowledge. Amazing.”

It is impossible to know what Trump and Flynn’s intentions were, but these ideas are not so far-fetched. Shadow warriors exist. And by baiting them into leaks which self-expose, Trump would merely be using the same play that Plame and Wilson used when they baited Republicans into outing her, only this time the shadow warriors were the victim. Either way, Trump’s response to the IC has been strong.

As Zell Miller realized over a decade ago, “Something has to be done. We can’t let the CIA become the domestic dirty tricks shop, with Republican and Democratic agents each trying to pull down their opposing presidents.” Kenneth Timmerman has gone to great lengths to document these past abuses, which explain the current situation, and predict the future. A man ignorant of shadow warriors is but a wounded lion, staggering as the IC hyenas stalk from the shadows.

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Leaky John Brennan

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The American Spectator, by George Neumayr, February 17, 2017

Out of hatred for McGovernite liberals, a Republican president in the 1970s broke the law. Now those aging radicals break the law out of hatred for a Republican president.

Nested within intelligence agencies, they have fed a series of criminal leaks to a press corps that functions like an anti-Trump dirty tricks operation.

Donald Trump has publicly speculated that former CIA director John Brennan is one of the criminal leakers. In January, he tweeted out, “Was this the leaker of Fake News?” Trump has now charged the Justice Department with investigating “low-life leakers” in the government.

Former CIA analyst Tony Shaffer also suspects Brennan as one of the leakers. He said on Fox Business Network that the leaks which forced Michael Flynn out can be laid “squarely at the feet of” Brennan, among other embittered Obama aides.

What we know is that intelligence agencies taped Flynn’s call with the Russian ambassador, and we know that the contents of the call were leaked to the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, who is a de facto stenographer for political liberals at the CIA. We also know that Brennan has made no secret of his opposition to Trump and Flynn. By opposing Brennan’s overtures to the Muslim Brotherhood and his refusal to grapple with the spread of Islamic terrorism, Flynn became enemy number one in the eyes of Obama holdovers at the CIA.

All of this gives the Justice Department ample reason to focus on Brennan. He had the means and motive to commit a crime.

“When I hear [former CIA head] John Brennan with the venom that seems to be in his voice after Donald Trump was elected president, it’s not hard to imagine that in the intelligence community, Donald Trump has his enemies and those enemies are not as restrained as they ought to be,” said Congressman Steve King on MSNBC.

Indeed, John Brennan brought with him to the CIA a coterie of political radicals and left-wing academics and gave them plum positions from which to leak to the press. So dedicated was Brennan to open political activism that he would walk the halls of the CIA in an LGBTQ “rainbow lanyard,” reports Bill Gertz of the Washington Times.

According to Gertz, Brennan turned his left-wing hires into “operatives” by fiddling with standards at the Directorate of Operations. These political hacks disguised as apolitical operatives had no more business receiving high-security clearances than Brennan himself did.

Recall the astounding admission Brennan once made at a “diversity” conference in 2016: that he thought he had “screwed” up his chances to enter the CIA after undergoing a polygraph test which smoked out his support for the American Communist Party during the Cold War. This sounds like a parody, but it isn’t. As he recounted:

This was back in 1980, and I thought back to a previous election where I voted, and I voted for the Communist Party candidate… I froze, because I was getting so close to coming into CIA and said, “OK, here’s the choice, John. You can deny that, and the machine is probably going to go, you know, wacko, or I can acknowledge it and see what happens.”… I said I was neither Democratic or Republican, but it was my way, as I was going to college, of signaling my unhappiness with the system, and the need for change. I said I’m not a member of the Communist Party, so the polygrapher looked at me and said, “OK,” and when I was finished with the polygraph and I left and said, “Well, I’m screwed.”

Unfortunately, he wasn’t. He entered the CIA, rose to its highest rank, and then salted the agency with fellow radicals, whose hatred for the “system” now takes the form of sabotaging the Trump administration.

Brennan and his leakers see no irony in becoming what they once opposed. In the 1970s, they cheered as the Church committee castigated the CIA for breaking laws. Now they use the CIA for their own dark arts and receive applause from ACLU-style liberals. They have gone from voting for communists to taping Russians, from fearing the unaccountable power of the system to wielding it shamelessly.

They marched through the institutions, stayed long enough to find the exits, and now booby-trap them as they file out. The trail of McGovernite liberalism ends as it began, in lawlessness, with a departing CIA director who behaved no differently than Daniel Ellsberg.

Also see:

The Latest Rundown on the Mike Flynn Deep State Hit Job

mike-flynn_-hit_-job_-run_-down_-sized-770x415xc-1PJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, FEBRUARY 15, 2017:

Obama officials and the establishment media continue to wave the scalp of resigned National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and trying to squeeze every last drop of anti-Trump controversy out of the matter.

As I had said privately, Flynn was not long for remaining as NSA. It’s not because he’s a bad guy, and accusations that he was compromised by Russian intelligence are absurd as the Trump dossier Buzzfeed published last month. It’s just that Flynn wasn’t ready for prime time. Hopefully his replacement will be.

So here’s the latest.

The New York Times published a report last night claiming “Trump associates” had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence, which the media in turn breathlessly hyped.

Trying to spin this as definitive proof that Trump was involved in “hacking the election,” they failed to recognize the NYT report proved no such thing:

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.

The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.

OK, there goes that theory.

The other big story last night from Adam Kredo at the Washington Free Beacon was that the hit job on Flynn was driven by former Obama officials concerned about protecting the disastrous Iran deal:

A third source who serves as a congressional adviser and was involved in the 2015 fight over the Iran deal told the Free Beacon that the Obama administration feared that Flynn would expose the secret agreements with Iran.

“The Obama administration knew that Flynn was going to release the secret documents around the Iran deal, which would blow up their myth that it was a good deal that rolled back Iran,” the source said. “So in December the Obama NSC started going to work with their favorite reporters, selectively leaking damaging and incomplete information about Flynn.”

“After Trump was inaugurated some of those people stayed in and some began working from the outside, and they cooperated to keep undermining Trump,” the source said, detailing a series of leaks from within the White House in the past weeks targeting Flynn. “Last night’s resignation was their first major win, but unless the Trump people get serious about cleaning house, it won’t be the last.”

It’s curious then that the architects of the Iran deal are enthusiastic about the front runner to replace Flynn, former Vice Admiral Robert Harward, including former Obama NSC spox Tommy Vietor:

And the Iran deal must be preserved at all costs:

Our former PJ Media colleague Richard Pollock had the last interview with Flynn before his resignation reporting on what was actually discussed during that phone call with the Russian ambassador:

Flynn insisted that he crossed no lines in his telephone conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak: “If I did, believe me, the FBI would be down my throat, my clearances would be pulled. There were no lines crossed.”

Flynn said there was a brief discussion of the 35 Russian diplomats who were being expelled by Obama in retaliation for Moscow’s alleged interference in the 2016 campaign.

“It wasn’t about sanctions. It was about the 35 guys who were thrown out,” Flynn said. “So that’s what it turned out to be. It was basically, ‘Look, I know this happened. We’ll review everything.’ I never said anything such as, ‘We’re going to review sanctions,’ or anything like that.”

It’s important to recall what Flynn was accused of doing:

There has yet to be any evidence that anything in Flynn’s discussion with the Russian ambassador was illegal.

The heavy breathing by the media about supposed Logan Act violations is totally overwrought, as there has never been a successful Logan Act prosecution in two centuries.

But it bears recalling that in 2008 as the Bush admin was trying to negotiate on the Iran nuclear program, those efforts were scuttled by the Obama campaign without any complaint from the media or calls for Logan Act prosecutions.

As our own Michael Ledeen reported here at PJ Media back in 2014:

During his first presidential campaign in 2008, Mr. Obama used a secret back channel to Tehran to assure the mullahs that he was a friend of the Islamic Republic, and that they would be very happy with his policies. The secret channel was Ambassador William G. Miller, who served in Iran during the shah’s rule, as chief of staff for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and as ambassador to Ukraine. Ambassador Miller has confirmed to me his conversations with Iranian leaders during the 2008 campaign.

It is remarkable that invocations of the Logan Act (e.g. the letter from 47 Senate Republicans to the Iranian leader in 2015) only occurs when it is targeting Republicans.

Another issue coming out of the Flynn affair is the politicization of intelligence.

House Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes is demanding to know what Flynn’s conversations were being wiretapped. As one of the congressional “Big 8” if there were a covert program targeting Flynn, he would be one of the few to know.

“Any intelligence agency cannot listen to Americans’ phone calls,” Nunes told reporters Tuesday night. “If there’s inadvertent collection that you know is overseas there’s a whole process in place for that.”

He explained, “It’s pretty clear that’s not the case, so then they could have been listening to someone else and inadvertently picked up an American. If that happens, there’s a whole process in place to where they have to immediately get rid of the information unless it’s like high level national security issue and then someone would have to unmask the name — someone at the highest levels.”

“So in this case it would be General Flynn and then how did that happen. Then if they did that, then how does all that get out to the public which is another leak of classified information,” Nunes added. “I’m pretty sure the FBI didn’t have a warrant on Michael Flynn.”

Former House Homeland Security Chairman Rep. Peter King says the intelligence disclosures to the press were clearly illegal.

No wonder then that many in the media are warning about the implications of former Obama officials leaking highly classified signals intelligence intercepts involving U.S. persons.

Eli Lake at Bloomberg:

There is another component to this story as well — as Trump himself just tweeted. It’s very rare that reporters are ever told about government-monitored communications of U.S. citizens, let alone senior U.S. officials. The last story like this to hit Washington was in 2009 when Jeff Stein, then of CQ, reported on intercepted phone calls between a senior Aipac lobbyist and Jane Harman, who at the time was a Democratic member of Congress.

Normally intercepts of U.S. officials and citizens are some of the most tightly held government secrets. This is for good reason. Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity. This is what police states do.

In the past it was considered scandalous for senior U.S. officials to even request the identities of U.S. officials incidentally monitored by the government (normally they are redacted from intelligence reports). John Bolton’s nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was derailed in 2006 after the NSA confirmed he had made 10 such requests when he was Undersecretary of State for Arms Control in George W. Bush’s first term. The fact that the intercepts of Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak appear to have been widely distributed inside the government is a red flag.

Damon Linker at The Week:

Unelected intelligence analysts work for the president, not the other way around. Far too many Trump critics appear not to care that these intelligence agents leaked highly sensitive information to the press — mostly because Trump critics are pleased with the result. “Finally,” they say, “someone took a stand to expose collusion between the Russians and a senior aide to the president!” It is indeed important that someone took such a stand. But it matters greatly who that someone is and how they take their stand. Members of the unelected, unaccountable intelligence community are not the right someone, especially when they target a senior aide to the president by leaking anonymously to newspapers the content of classified phone intercepts, where the unverified, unsubstantiated information can inflict politically fatal damage almost instantaneously.

And John Podheretz at the New York Post:

This information might have come because the US intelligence community has an active interest in the Russian official to whom he talked.

Or it could have come because the FBI had been pursuing some sort of secret investigation and had received authorization to monitor and track his calls and discussions.

If this was intelligence, the revelation of the Flynn meeting just revealed something to the Russians we shouldn’t want revealed — which is that we were listening in on them and doing so effectively.

And if it was an FBI investigation, then the iron principle of law enforcement — that evidence gathered in the course of an investigation must be kept secret to protect the rights of the American being investigated — was just put through a shredder.

Keeping our intelligence-gathering assets hidden from those upon whom we are spying is a key element of our national security.

And as for playing fast and loose with confidential information on American citizens: No joke, people — if they can do it to Mike Flynn, they can do it to you.

But still, there are some who are loving them some deep state totalitarian tactics:

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Report: Obama Loyalists, Led by Ben Rhodes, Orchestrated Flynn Ouster

 

With Flynn leaks, the White House shadow warriors draw first blood

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Getty Images

THE HILL, BY KENNETH R. TIMMERMAN, 02/14/17

The rogue weasels have struck. Terrified that Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn would tear them out root and branch, they connived and colluded, anonymously of course, to leak highly-sensitive intelligence information to destroy Flynn before he could destroy them.

This type of operation is not new. I wrote a whole book about it in 2007. I called them, the “shadow warriors.”

Then as now, the shadow warriors excelled at covert operations. After all, they lived in the darkness in a universe of lies.

Their technique “involved deep penetration of a hostile regime by planting a network of agents at key crossroads of power, where they could steal secrets and steer policy by planting disinformation, cooking intelligence, provocation, and outright lies.”

As I wrote at the time, this effort “involved sophisticated political sabotage operations, aimed at making regime leaders doubt their own judgment and question the support of their subordinates… It was war — but an intelligence war, played behind the scenes, aimed at confusing, misleading, and ultimately defeating the enemy. Its goal was nothing less than to topple the regime in power, by discrediting its rulers.”

These are powers and skills most Americans ascribe to our nation’s clandestine intelligence services, right? Don’t we want to have spies at the heart of the Iranian Supreme Leader’s entourage? Or planted next to whichever Kim is ruling his North Korean hermit kingdom? Isn’t that the type of capability we spending more than $80 billion a year to develop?

Alas, none of those very real targets is the target of these rogue weasels. Their target is the president of the United States.

The shadow warriors began leaking even before President Trump was sworn into office.

“According to a senior U.S. government official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29… What did Flynn say, and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions?” Washington Post columnist David Ignatius wrote on January 12.

Later, news reports surfaced with more information about the calls, quoting “three sources familiar with the matter.”

But that wasn’t enough. To hound Flynn out of office required a full court press, and so last week the rogue weasels came out of the shadows and all began talking to the same reporters.

By the time these scribes had assembled their indictment (for that’s what it was), they now had heard the story corroborated from “nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls,” and who spoke, of course, “on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.”

In so doing, they exposed a sensitive, ongoing signals intelligence operation to intercept the electronic communications of the Russian ambassador. Who cares, right, if your goal is to sabotage the president?

What sets off this particular episode of the shadow warriors is the willingness of former top officials to leave their fingerprints behind.

Call it, payback. It began with Sally Yates, the Obama administration deputy attorney general who the Trump transition team improvidently named as acting attorney general while awaiting the confirmation of Senator Jeff Sessions — the same Sally Yates who was summarily fired by President Trump when she refused to support and defend his executive order calling for a temporary moratorium on immigration from seven Middle East countries.

Yates “informed the Trump White House late last month that she believed Michael Flynn had misled senior administration officials about the nature of his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States,” the Washington Post wrote on Monday.

The scribes added: “In the waning days of the Obama administration, James R. Clapper Jr., who was the director of national intelligence, and John Brennan, the CIA director at the time, shared Yates’s concerns and concurred with her recommendation to inform the Trump White House.”

Brennan and Clapper knew they were on the way out, and so arguably had nothing to lose by going public. But clearly, both intelligence chiefs also knew they had seeded their agencies with loyalists — career officials who they could rely on to leak sensitive information to them in the future that would embarrass or confuse President Trump.

Government officials take an oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies — foreign and domestic.

No one says you have to like the president or his policies. But senior officials are expected to serve him and carry out lawful orders.

When domestic enemies rear their head and seek to undermine the president and his lawful orders, that’s called sedition.

General Flynn made the mistake — perhaps inadvertently, as he says – of not telling the truth about these calls to the Vice President. That is a mistake.

But the leakers disclosed to the public — and our enemies — sensitive and classified information. That is illegal.

It’s time for the Attorney General to launch a thorough investigation to unmask the leakers, before the damage gets worse.

Kenneth R. Timmerman was the 2012 Republican congressional nominee for Maryland’s 8th District and is the author of Deception: The Making of the YouTube Video Hillary & Obama Blamed for Benghazi, published by Post Hill Press.

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